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By Barbara Gombach

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I n s t r u c t i n g king Y u d h i s t h i r a tn a n c i ent 1ore. The aSvamedhfka parvan c o n t a i ns only e l even anci 11a r y tales, a very small number by comparison w i t h t h e previous two parvans. Here t h e Pgndavas make t h e necessary p r e p a r a t i arts t o . conduct an aSvamedha r i t e (horse s a c r i f i c e ) turns to t h e work s t o r i es are of r u l i n g h i s kingdom- p r i n c i p a l 1y concerned with . as Yudhi s. t h i ra the The a n c i l l a r y relationship I4sanskrit i s t Dan4 e l I n g a l 1s regards t h i s o r a l - f o r m u l a i c expression as a Mbh c l icheI t h a t is a formula t h a t is frozen.

39 many times. these The tone of his analysis suggests that he thought later reworkings recognizable principles did of not proceed according composition. Van to Buitenen summarized his view as follows: Thus the Bharata of 24. 000. The original story was in the first phase of compilation expanded from wi thi n. in the second phase mythol ogi zed. in the third phase brahminized. One might even discern a fourth phase. after the epic was fi rst written down. when this collection of manuscripts became.

Thi s general approach t o t h e Mbh as a coherent who1e w i t h d i d a c t i c purpose was shared by l a t e r S a n s k r i t scholars, as The in f 1u e n t i a1 Vedanta s c h o l a r Sartkara ( 9 t h c e n t u r y ) we1 1. o f t e n quoted t h e Mbh as s m r t i and c l e a r l y regarded i t as a vehicle for commentators century) widespread Madhva each described d i f f e r e n t terms. distinct but the equally Mbh . S. (17 t h chief editor e n t e r p r i se in held that there are levels of meaning that .

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